Despite Rising Gas Prices, Consumers are Back on the Roads; September Sees 2.5 Percent Increase in Travel Over 2008
December 2, 2009

Vehicle Miles Driven by Region
(in billions)
September 2008
September 2009
Percent Change
Northeast
37.4
38.0
+1.8
South Atlantic
48.6
49.8
+2.7
North Central
54.1
55.3
+2.3
South Gulf
45.9
47.1
+2.7
West
49.1
50.4
+2.7
Total
234.9
240.7
+2.5
Source: Federal Highway Administration

Despite rising gas prices over the last few months, consumers are continuing to increase the amount of miles they're driving over last year. For the month of September, vehicle miles driven were up 2.5 percent over September 2008-the sixth month in a row to see an increase. This reflects an increase of 5.8 billion miles over the previous year, according to the latest report from the Federal Highway Administration (FHA), a division of the Department of Transportation—for a total of 240.7 billion vehicle miles driven over the course of the month.

When compared with August 2009, however, travel was down by 18.3 billion miles-from 259.0 billion vehicle miles in August to 240.7 for the month of September.

Cumulative travel has been increasing throughout the year as well on U.S. road ways. As of the end of September in 2008, 2201.8 billion vehicle miles had been driven, compared with 2208.5 billion for the same period of 2009.

All five of the U.S. regions saw increases in travel over September 2008, with the largest boons occurring in the South-Atlantic, South-Gulf and Western regions, all of which saw an increase of 2.7 percent over the previous year.

Travel has risen continually over the previous year since April 2009, according to reports from FHA. Do you think this is evidence of a turnaround in economy? Please e-mail pstacey@glass.com.

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